What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Algorithm Can See Your Pulse Rate in Your Face

June 22, 2013, 1:30 PM

What's the Latest Development?

MIT medical researchers have created an algorithm that accurately measures a person's pulse by tracking how the head moves involuntarily when blood is pumped from the heart to the brain. The algorithm works using techniques already used by computer vision systems. "First, it uses standard face recognition to distinguish the subject’s head from the rest of the image. Then it randomly selects 500 to 1,000 distinct points, clustered around the subjects’ mouths and noses, whose movement it tracks from frame to frame. Next, it filters out any frame-to-frame movements whose temporal frequency falls outside the range of a normal heartbeat."

What's the Big Idea?

The novel way to measure human pulse rates is consistently accurate to within a few beats per minute of those produced by electrocardiograms (EKGs). "It was also able to provide useful estimates of the time intervals between beats, a measurement that can be used to identify patients at risk for cardiac events." John Guttag, who described the algorithm for MIT, believes it could detect arterial obstruction, which could cause the blood to flow unevenly to the head. "Can you use the same type of techniques to look for bilateral asymmetries?" he asked. "What would it mean if you had more motion on one side than the other?"

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at MIT News


Algorithm Can See Your Puls...

Newsletter: Share: